My name is Barbara Anna Zielonka and I am an English teacher and teacher trainer at Nannestad High School. My pupils range in age between 15 and 18 years. A third of them are in a general study programme and their language skills in English are at an advanced level (in my assessment). They are fluent speakers, but they still need to improve their writing skills. The two words that I would describe them are motivated and hard working. The rest of my students are vocational students (future beauticians, cooks, child and youth workers and healthcare workers) who show enthusiasm in classes that are related to their future professions. All my classes are heterogeneous ones with both groups of students in the mix.
Teaching English in my classroom involves computer technology and its associated media capability. Each student is equipped with a personal computer.
The students are fluent with video editing tools, content curation tools, podcasting tools, mind mapping tools, collaboration tools, screencasting tools, and proficient in web searching and use of digital platforms for learning.
My students have a lot of freedom in choosing what they want to learn within my overall language objectives. They are virtually autonomous learners, and, my role is more of a guide and mentor.
I try to run my classes in a democratic way, seeking suggestions from the students and giving them a say as to what they see as relevant for them within my broad objectives of what skills I think they should have to be proficient in English.
While many teachers still use textbooks as their primary material, I strive to find innovative, creative and digital ways of teaching that address the diverse needs of all of my students. Integration of technology into our English curriculum is the central element in the design of my classes.
I have developed and applied my teaching philosophy through participation in seminars, conferences, professional development programmes, advocate in my role as project administrator and as a mentor to undergraduate students. My most important objective as a high school teacher is to prepare my students for the future including the learning and innovation skills, content knowledge, information, media and technology skills and life and career skills. Moreover, as a teacher of English, my job is to develop my students’ oral and written skills using different methods and strategies.
Teaching English to students is exciting in its demands in designing digitally-centred classes and personally rewarding in the results I see in the students. I want to be that teacher who, even after decades in the classroom, still seeks continuous improvement, participates in a variety of professional development courses and inspires growth in all types of students. I strive to become a resourceful and supportive teacher, and I believe that this process is life-long.